Fascination with the Flame Princess

Last week, I found myself once again in Chicago. I had plans to meetup with Nathan, and we agreed to connect at our usual rendezvous – The Wanderer’s Refuge. While waiting for Nathan, I stumbled upon a few copies of Better than Any Man, a product that I had kickstarted for Lamentations of the Flame Princess’s 2013 Free RPG Day drive.

Recent Lamentations of the Flame Princess Arrivals

Recent Lamentations of the Flame Princess Arrivals

I had been unable to get a physical copy – what with it being released while I was neck deep in RPGs at Origins last year. So I quickly snagged a copy of this gorgeous adventure. I asked the store owner the cost, and he said “It was part of Free RPG Day, so its free!”

Later, I had an afternoon to kill and found myself again at Games Plus in Mount Prospect, IL. My first visit there, I had bought The God that Crawls and The Monolith from beyond Space and Time.

This visit, they had 4 copies LotFP Rules & Magic. But I already had my copy from a previous order. Though I stood over those books and admired their quality.

Late last year, during one of James Raggi’s crazy “Things are On Sale” days, I purchased a physical copy LotFP Rules & Magic as well as Geoffrey McKinney’s Isle of the Unknown and Carcosa – having read and reviewed the PDF a few years prior.

I kickstarted indigogoed Vincent Backer’s The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions during James’s crazy indigogo blitz – 19 concurrent indigogo campaigns many of which did not fully fund. I wanted to see Vincent’s take on the more OSR related things.

Last month, when James was asking for volunteers to test out a payment processing system, I jumped at the chance to both help out and get a discount. I ordered Kelving Green’s Forgive Us, Zzarchov Kowlolski’s Scenic Dunnsmouth, and Kenneth Hite’s Qelong.

I also have the Grindhouse Edition of the LotFP rules and Zak S’s fantastic Vornheim. The Grindhouse Edition rules provide a digestible introduction to a game that just isn’t quite like the games that I remember from years past. Things are more fragile and mysterious.

Vornheim is amongst my favorite supplements. It is not an exhaustive description of the city, but instead provides tools, guideposts, brief “essays” each for bringing Vornheim to life.

So confident am I that I will love everything Lamentations of the Flame Princess, I joined the Pembrooktonshire Gardening Society. And my card arrived today.

But here is the dirty secret…

I’ve never once played a Lamentations of the Flame Princess game. But they are amongst my most favorite role-playing books.

First, they are gorgeously produced – from the evocative cover art to the decadent paper stock. Just handling them is enough to drive the bibliophile wild.

Second, they are different. They are weird – in comparison to much of what is out there. In some ways reading each of the books transports me. As I crack open one of these books, it is as though I am given another chance at being introduced to RPGs.

So cheers to you James, for all of your crazy endeavors! You are taking risks in what you publish – acknowledging as much in The Monolith from beyond Space and Time – and I’m enjoying seeing the end results. Especially in their high quality printed form.


Getting the Band Back Together

Thus far, 2014 has been a year of very little gaming. Normally I would be experiencing withdrawal symptoms, but that has not been the case.

I’ve focused on helping my wife get her soap business off of the ground. We are in year two of the Soapy Gnome,  with the next month focusing on opening a shop in downtown Goshen, Indiana.

My children are involved in more after school activities, which means more time spent in transit. They are teenagers and I can see the window of time with them closing. So I won’t give up those hours.

I’ve also had a significant amount of work related travel over the last two years. This has meant I’ve had face to face time with a handful of gamers from other parts of the country. But it chews into any continuity in game schedules.

I had an opportunity to do some freelance work, and have opted to not pursue it. When I crunched the numbers I had at best 2 hours of unaccounted for time each weekday. And perhaps 20 hours on any given weekend. In other words 138 hours of my 168 hour week are accounted for.

All to say I’ve been busy.

But I want to get back to gaming. I would want to try to find an evening and establish a schedule. I would love for someone else to run the games, and coordinate things, but that may be wishful thinking.

My brother has suggested that we play games via Google Hangouts. And I’m working my way up to that. I love sitting around the game table and playing an RPG. The social aspect is so very fantastic.